OVIEDO, Fla. – The Oviedo Fire Department got a new tower truck Friday which city leaders said will help firefighters respond to the area’s booming growth.
Chief Michael Woodward said seconds count when firefighters respond to an emergency.
“Every minute that a fire is burning out of control is more property damage, devastation and catastrophic damage,” Woodward said.
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For more than 15 years, Woodward said the department hasn’t had the equipment needed to respond to high-angle rescues, including a recent fire at a 3-story apartment complex in 2020.
Firefighters determined lightning caused the fire that damaged 69 units and left 46 people displaced.
“We didn’t have the capability and we had to rely on outside agencies and jurisdictions to come help us and put that fire out,” Woodward said.
With more vertical growth coming to Oviedo, Mayor Megan Sladek said the city decided it needed to get a tower truck so it could respond to these emergencies.
“There is a big enthusiasm for going up and not out so we can clear-cut less land, but we can’t in good conscience allow our city to grow up unless we have the right apparatus to fight fires vertically, and now we do,” Sladek said.
The city celebrated the new $1.5 million ladder truck with a wetdown and push-in ceremony on Friday, a tradition that dates back to the 1800s.
The mayor said the tower truck is getting results by keeping residents safe while helping the department be prepared for any future emergencies.
“This fire station is less than one mile from every place in Oviedo that has the potential to get taller than four stories, and that’s really what we need is a centrally-located tower truck to fight any kind of emergency,” Sladek said.
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